FISH and chips might be all right for adults, but for children under ten they were ‘poison’ and should not be served up, so said the tuberculosis officer for the Barnoldswick district, 100 years ago, in October, 1920.

Dr Wilson, was speaking to a large gathering in the Queen’s Hall, Barnoldswick, about the then spread of tuberculosis, also known as consumption, or the ‘white scourge’ - which had claimed many lives and in the Skipton district was being blamed on the working conditions in the weaving sheds.

Dr Wilson was in Barnoldswick to offer some health advice and how best to avoid the disease - and he did not pull his punches.

He certainly did not agree with the modern way of eating meals, or what was being served up. In an uncanny 1920s version of fast food eaten while at the same time checking the smart phone, he condemned the practice of haphazard meals taken at irregular hours and under improper conditions.

He had seen people eating fish and chips at dinner time with their eyes glued to a penny novelette - that was not the way to get healthy, he said. While accepting popping out to buy some fish and chips might save the ‘worried mother’ the trouble of cooking a meal, and as an ‘add on’ might be all right for adults, they were most certainly not for children, given the’ indigestible fat’ they were cooked in.

In his opinion fish and chips were poison for children, and should not be fed in any circumstances to the under 10s.

Moving onto vegetarianism, it was, like a good many things, all right in its way, but he believed a mixed diet for ordinary people with a certain amount of meat. He knew of what he spoke, as he had tried vegetarian meals, and had felt hungry afterwards.

It seems advice 100 years ago in the fight against disease bore some uncanny resemblances to today, as the world fights the coronavirus - Dr Wilson told his audience that the whole secret of the prevention of disease might be summed up in two words - ‘common sense’.

There were no short cuts to health or prevention of disease, every body must go the same way to keep in good health. While some with strong constitutions could stand a good deal of strain, others had to keep constant watch on their health. The rich man might have ill health and the poor man good health, but an extremely poor man could never be well, he said.

Therefore, the question resolved itself very largely into a political question. Until the working classes got something more than a mere living wage and sufficient leisure to enjoy the good things of life, they could not become a healthy community. But money was not everything. Many people unfortunately lacked the knowledge how to spend their money to good advantage, he said.

People in Barnoldswick were ‘very fond of money’, he said. “You are out to earn a lot of money. If you are not so well you won’t stop off work because it would mean losing money. But your health means more to you than all the money in the world.”

He continued: “A certain proportion of your money ought to be set on one side for heath purposes and getting reasonable holidays and recreation. By going into work day in and day out, you are not doing justice to yourselves or the community.”

Dr Wilson said sunshine and fresh air was important and then moved onto housing, and cramped conditions - people ought to insist on having good housing, he said.

In the same week, it was reported there had been seven new cases of tuberculosis, which included Barnoldswick, Earby and Skipton.

ON the subject of fish and chips, since sharing with us his memories of the small shop with balcony on Skipton’s Mill Bridge, which was in itself once a fish and chip shop, before it fell into the canal, Roger Ingham has further information to impart.

His memories, which included a brawl taking place in the shop, sparked off other memories from friends who recall how the small premises also housed a sit-down cafe upstairs, with room for just about three small tables.

Roger confessed earlier to remembering a creaky, cranky stairway but he always believed that the stairs only led to some kind of store place.

He did, however, omit to mention in his original piece that, after part of the balcony outer wall had collapsed into the canal in the wake of the severe winter of 1962/63, that he worked for the old Skipton building firm TT Chapman (Chatty’s) which renovated the structure for which much of the handicraft and platform scaffolding was undertaken by Arthur Mooney and John Cracknell.

Roger’s contribution, though, before going off to another site was to row down the canal from Chatty’s yard, near Pinder Bridge, with some of the essential equipment and materials.

A recent look over the wall though suggests that the balcony has had a complete overhaul since then.

Reflecting on the fish and chips shop theme, Roger recalls there being no less than nine such venues in town midst his early school years including one towards the top of Shortbank Road near where he lived; also a mobile fish and chips vehicle for good measure. And, he adds, that this sizeable number does not include the one which later figured up the side of the town hall, for that premises, throughout his school days, was still a public toilet!

OUT walking along the Ribble Way from Paythorne on possibly the wettest Saturday of the year so far, I passed this sign near to Halton West.

So, we have ‘Bolton by Bow Land’, instead of Bowland, and to make matters worse, it looks like someone has been busy and made it look like it’s 24 miles to Hellifield.

On the subject of the Ribble Way. As lovely as it is, it is most definitely the most poorly of signposted of the long distance paths in our area, although I may well have been blinded by all the rain - it was an extremely nasty day.

ONE has to sympathise with some members of Craven District Council as they struggle to adapt to the ‘new normal’ and holding online meetings via Zoom - things don’t always go smoothly, but then how many of us can put their hands up and say their experience of remote meetings have gone without a hitch. But in terms of reaching out to more people, and the authority being more ‘open and transparent’, the meetings, which are all on the council’s YouTube channel, have been a great success.

Meetings of the Planning Committee, which in normal times have always been the most well attended by members of the public, keen to see the progress of a particular application, but now, way more people are tuning in to see the councillors in action as they debate and decide on various schemes. A planning meeting held on September 1, has so far been viewed 301 times, and the most recent, on October 5, has been viewed 117 times.

Even such meetings as Audit and Governance, which might in the past have attracted one or two people along perhaps looking to get out the cold, but most commonly, no one at all, are seeing 66 views.

One wonders with such success, if when councillors eventually go back to physical meetings in the council offices, it would be a good idea to carry on filming the meetings for those members of the public who can not get along on an evening, and even better, can dip in and out of meetings at their leisure. And, for those councillors in the far corners of the district, how much better to go online than to drive 20 miles.